About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Trackers by Deon Meyer

(5. – 637.) Trackers by Deon Meyer – It is not often that a title perfectly describes a book. It is even more impressive when it can be done in a single word. Prior to reading this South African thriller I thought of the word, trackers, in the context of tracking animals or humans in the wilderness as done so well in the Bony mysteries of Arthur Upfield.

Trackers moves far beyond tracking in the wild places of South Africa. It expands the meaning to people and machines tracking in every conceivable way. Befitting a land that is rapidly being urbanized most of the tracking takes place in the huge metropolitan area of Capetown.

There is the traditional tracking of wild animals in the African bush.

There is the tracking of vehicles across the vast spaces of South Africa by keeping them in sight.

There is tracking of vehicles in rural areas by anticipating which, of only a few possible roads, could be used.

Moving into the contemporary urban environment there is tracking done by teams of cars following cars.

There is tracking of vehicles by transmitters placed upon them.

There is tracking on foot in the city where visual contact must be maintained for little to no spoor is left by someone walking the paved streets of modern cities.

There is tracking of people by old fashioned observation from nearby buildings.

There is tracking of telephones with electronic intercepts.

There is tracking through talking with friends and enemies.

There is tracking through sleeping with a source and listening to pillow talk.

There is tracking through informants within organizations.

There is tracking through computers searching the world wide web.

There is tracking through the satellites continually orbiting the earth.

There is tracking through reading newspapers and magazines for information on those being tracked.

There is tracking through searching government records.

There is tracking through breaking into buildings.

There is tracking through searching desks and computers.

There is tracking through the mind with skilful questions and brutal demands for knowledge.

There is tracking through the sharing, often reluctantly, of information between powerful organizations.

There is tracking through careful examination of financial records.

There is tracking through the sources of funds in bank accounts.

There is tracking through hidden microphones.

There is tracking through the closed circuit cameras that inhabit every city. 

There is tracking through the examination of personal public records.

There is tracking through the study of bodies.

There is tracking through examination of wallets, clothing and other personal items.

Within the book everyone is tracking somebody.

Among the characters are Lemmer and Emma from Blood Safari. Lemmer is an important character but he does not dominate the book. Lemmer is a professional tracker of men and women.

At the heart of the story is Milla Strachan, a 40 year old housewife from the Capetown suburb of Durbanville. Leaving a loveless marriage she sets out on a new life that takes her places beyond her imagination. She becomes an unexpected modern tracker.

Meyer has lyrical descriptions within the book such as Milla’s diary entries on tracking:

Leaving tracks, creating some impression on the surface of this earth, is a way of saying ‘I was here’. Something to give meaning to this fleeting existence ….. How do you leave a track, a trail, a spoor? …. Is that why I want to write a book, my only (last!) chance to leave something tangible, a small scrap of evidence that I was here?

We all want to leave tracks for those that come behind us. Blogs are a 2012 spoor to be tracked through the virtual world of the internet. We leave electronic marks so our reader trackers can come to know us.

It is a spectacular book. I understand why it has been an award winner. There is significant but not overwhelming violence. Unlike Blood Safari I never felt preached at by the author. Once again I appreciate Jose Ignacio at his blog, The Game’s Afoot, and Bernadette at her blog, Reactions to Reading, for recommending the book. I will read more of Deon Meyer. (Jan. 26/12)


  1. Bill - I am so glad you liked this book as much as you did, and you've written a fine review of it. Deon Meyer is, in my opinion, one of the finest thriller writers we have today. It's good to hear that you believe this one lives up to the fine reputation he has deservedly made for himself.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Meyer has become one of the best thriller writers in the world.

  3. Thanks for the mention, Bill. Am glad you liked it.

  4. Tracking has been carried out since the primitive age but now I'm seeing it in a whole new light. Deon Meyer must have done a great deal of research to weave a thriller around tracking and make it an absorbing read too. What an imagination! Thanks for this fine review.

  5. Jose Ignacio: Thanks for the comment. I appreciate the recommendations you make on books.

  6. Prashant: Thanks for commenting. It is a rare good book that can be so concentrated on the theme at the heart of the book.

  7. I agree, this is an excellent book. I love your list of "trackers"! I wonder if the author had something like this before he started writing, and determined to include one of each in his novel?

  8. Maxine: Thanks for your comment. Your question had been in the back of my mind. I am going to send an email to Meyer and ask him.